By: Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting KC
Sporting Kansas City ended their run in the MLS is Back Tournament on Thursday night in a frustrating 3-1 loss in the quarterfinals to the Philadelphia Union.
The Union set the tone early, completely dismantling Sporting KC’s defense to claim a 2-0 lead within the first half-hour. The first goal came in the 24th minute when Jamiro Monteiro tapped the ball in at close range. Two minutes later, Sergio Santos bagged the Union’s second goal off a cross from Brenden Aaronson – who had an excellent performance himself – with a strike from outside the box.
Santos struck again in the 39th minute, taking advantage of a through ball from Aaronson to bring the Union up 3-0. Alan Pulido provided a line of hope by pulling one back for Sporting with a diving header into the corner during stoppage time, his efforts sending both sides into the half 3-1.
Sporting KC began the second half with a double substitution that saw Gadi Kinda and Amadou Dia enter for Gianluca Busio and Luis Martins. Surely Sporting coach Peter Vermes wanted to augment the surge of energy created by Pulido’s goal, a key element the team was severely lacking in the first 45′.
Pulido would again find himself in the position to earn a second goal for Sporting in the 49′, but as the script went, his free kick smashed into the post.
Sporting KC came close to finding another silver lining in the 57th minute after Johnny Russell tried to send one home at close range after a blocked shot for Pulido, but the offsides flag went up for the Scotsman.
Moments later, Kinda broke in after nice link-up with Daniel Salloi, but his shot was deflected and saved by the Union’s Andre Blake. Sporting KC tried again, developing another great buildup that sent a ball from Gerso to Roger Espinoza, who then hit the ball over the bar.
A late match substitution saw 19-year-old Cameron Duke make his official club debut for Sporting, entering in the 84′ for Roger Espinoza. The remainder of the game saw a little confrontation between Peter Vermes and the fourth official and Sporting KC continue to press Philly’s backline. Unfortunately for Sporting, they were unable to convert their opportunities for a chance at redemption. The scoreline of the first half would remain unchanged.
As Sporting KC packs their bags to return home – the Union will move on to face either the Portland Timbers or New York City FC in the semifinals on Wednesday, August 5th.
Featured Image: MLS (Jared Martinez & Matt Stith)
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